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Posts Tagged ‘David Feldman’

Firefighters union ratifies no-brownout agreement

Good. Members of the Houston firefighters’ union have signed off on a deal with Mayor Annise Parker that would prevent pulling firetrucks from service to help balance the Fire Department’s budget. “We’re very pleased that the union membership ratified the agreement,” Houston City Attorney David M. Feldman said in a statement released Friday. Now that […]

City to Uber: Enough with the emails already

So this happened. The battle over Houston’s taxi rules moved Thursday from the streets to cyberspace, reflecting ongoing tension between an aggressive newcomer and a city government determined to proceed cautiously. Thousands of email messages urging elected leaders to allow the ridesharing service Uber into Houston slowed city servers and led City Attorney David Feldman […]

Firefighters union sues city to block cutbacks

Not sure about this. Houston firefighters went to court Tuesday in an effort to block the city from removing personnel, trucks and ambulances from service. But a judge rejected their argument that the “rolling brownouts” plan violates the union’s collective bargaining agreement with the city. State District Judge Elaine Palmer turned down the request for […]

Audit letters

There’s a thing called audit letters that I hadn’t known existed. We’ve got them for Houston, but we had not been making them public even though other cities do as a matter of course. Houston officials have blocked the release of letters detailing weaknesses in the city’s financial accounting even though other large Texas cities […]

City sues HFRRF again

From the inbox: In the face of growing concern about its ability to meet long-term retiree pension obligations, the City of Houston filed a lawsuit today against the Houston Firefighters’ Relief and Retirement Fund (HFRRF), one of three pension systems covering City employees. The lawsuit seeks to enable the City to have the same input […]

Why not three?

Greg suggests a couple of tweaks to term limits. » Fix the JoJo exclusion. The statute, as written, is amazingly short and simple: Section 6a. – Limitation of terms. No person, who has already served two full terms, shall be eligible to file for that same office. The statute is also amazingly unequal in how […]

City moves anti-same sex spouse benefits lawsuit to federal court

Interesting. Mayor Annise Parker and the city of Houston have moved a lawsuit challenging same-sex benefits out of Republican Judge Lisa Millard’s court after she allegedly halted the benefits without giving the city proper notice. City Attorney David Feldman filed a “Notice of Removal” on Friday saying the lawsuit belongs in U.S. district court instead […]

More on the local GOP’s lawsuit against same sex spouse insurance benefits

Family Court? What’s up with that? City Attorney Dave Feldman said Wednesday that the city of Houston and Mayor Annise Parker were not given notice before a family district court judge halted a recent policy change extending health and life insurance benefits to city employees in same-sex marriages. “I’m not even sure how this ended […]

More reactions to the city’s settlement with the strip clubs

Not everyone likes it. Bob Sanborn, CEO of the nonprofit organization Children at Risk, and other advocates against human trafficking said on Wednesday that they should have been consulted before a deal was struck. Mayor Annise Parker, who brokered the agreement, said it ended a lengthy lawsuit and gives the city more funds to fight […]

Harris County GOP sues over same sex spouse benefits for city employees

When Mayor Parker announced that legally married same sex spouses would be eligible to be added to city employees’ health insurance plans, I was certain that there would be legal action taken against that decision. The Harris County GOP has now supplied the legal action. The city of Houston’s recent policy change extending health and […]

Enforcing a new payday loan ordinance

Mayor Parker’s proposed payday lending ordinance will be up before Council today, though it might wind up being delayed until the new Council is sworn in. It’s not clear yet how the vote might go, but in the meantime it’s worth pondering what the enforcement mechanism for this new law would be. Other cities that […]

Is CM-elect Stardig term limited or not?

I brought this up yesterday in my wrapup of the city and HCC runoffs, and I’m asking it again here in the hope that someone who can provide a definitive answer will offer one. The question I have is whether or not CM Brenda Stardig is eligible to run for re-election in 2015. As I […]

Runoff results: Rough day for incumbents

I have no complaint about the results. With all precincts reporting, controversial first-term council incumbents Helena Brown, in northwest Houston’s District A, and Andrew C. Burks Jr., in At-Large Position 2, fell to their challengers, as did HCC trustees Yolanda Navarro Flores and Herlinda Garcia. Brown lost her rematch with Brenda Stardig, the incumbent she […]

The Dome’s status is complicated

Is it a landmark or not? If so, what kind? Mayor Annise Parker this week called an effort by the city historical commission to designate the Harris County-owned Astrodome a city landmark “ill-advised,” and said she had no plans to put the item before City Council for approval. The Houston Archaeological and Historical Commission on […]

Evaluating the strip club settlement

Some interesting feedback on the city’s recent legal settlement with area strip clubs. South Texas College of Law professor Matthew Festa said the payments are not his central concern, noting cities often condition building permits on a business planting trees or building sidewalks. Festa said the deal presents a separation of powers issue, however, in […]

Council hears the Mayor’s payday lending ordinance

Reaction was mixed, though it appears likely there is enough support to pass. The proposed ordinance would limit payday loans to 20 percent of a borrower’s gross monthly income and auto title loans to 3 percent of the borrower’s gross annual income or 70 percent of the car’s value, whichever is less. Single-payment payday loans […]

More on the Mayor’s payday lending ordinance

From the Chron story on Mayor Parker’s proposed payday lending ordinance, which is described as having been toughened up from an earlier proposal: Consumer groups had called [City Attorney David] Feldman’s compromise proposal too weak; he said he preferred tougher restrictions but said those were unlikely to pass the Legislature, would invite a lawsuit, and […]

Mayor Parker announces same sex spousal benefits for city employees

Mayor Parker had been talking recently about a more comprehensive non-discrimination ordinance for Houston and possibly revisiting the 2001 charter amendment that forbids the city from offering domestic partner benefits. I knew something would be coming, but I didn’t expect this. The city of Houston will offer health and life insurance benefits to all spouses […]

Wage theft ordinance back before Council

It should be up for discussion this week. “Wage theft is defined as a situation in which someone employs someone to perform a service, not intending to pay them wages. That’s an extreme offense,” [City Attorney David] Feldman said. “The city has an interest in knowing if that type of conduct is taking place under […]

Keep runoffs on Saturday

Put me on record as opposing this. A Houston City Council committee [Tuesday] recommended keeping the city’s run-off election day on a Saturday. But committee members remained open for the possibility of changing it to a Tuesday in the future. City Attorney David Feldman says the city first started discussing the topic in March. The […]

Time for a real NDO in Houston

Bring it on. Last week, San Antonio passed an ordinance protecting gay and transgendered residents and veterans from discrimination. Houston Mayor Annise Parker says that vote “upped the ante” and that Houston should follow suit. “It is absolutely something we should do, and the majority of council members have publicly stated they are in support […]

City reaches settlement with developer over Woodland Park damage

Good news. Mayor Annise Parker, the City of Houston Legal Department and the Houston Parks and Recreation Department (HPARD) announced the City has recovered $300,000 to restore recent damage to Woodland Park by a private developer. Woodland Park, located at 212 Parkview, is a 19.67 acre park near White Oak Bayou in the Woodland Heights […]

Council to consider wage theft ordinance

Good. The Houston City Council may step up its efforts to combat wage theft, sanctioning companies that deny workers pay to which they are entitled and monitoring firms accused of doing so, regardless of whether they do business with the city. City Attorney David Feldman laid out a proposed ordinance to a City Council committee […]

LIBOR lawsuit

This ought to be interesting. The City of Houston filed suit today for financial damages suffered from the manipulation of the interest rates on its investments against the banks that set the benchmark interest rate known as the London Interbank Offered Rate, or LIBOR. The lawsuit was filed in federal court in the Southern District […]

Eric Dick is just trolling us now

Like a three-year-old having a tantrum – and against our better judgment – he gets the attention he so desperately seeks. Two City Council candidates facing thousands of dollars in fines for violating the city’s sign ordinance during their 2011 campaigns accused Mayor Annise Parker on Friday of targeting them for their conservative beliefs. Eric […]

Houston loses air pollution permit lawsuit

Bummer. The Texas Supreme Court ruled Friday that Houston may not effectively void a state air pollution permit. The justices agreed with Southern Crushed Concrete that Houston’s 2007 law restricting the location of concrete-crushing facilities violates state statute by nullifying a permit issued by the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality. In reversing an appeals court […]

Schechter’s seat filled

The HCC Board of Trustees has named a replacement for the outgoing Richard Schechter. Houston Community College trustees unanimously agreed Thursday to appoint attorney Leila Feldman to fill a recently vacated seat on the school board. Feldman served as associate general counsel for HCC from March 2009 to June 2010 and is now the general […]

Three things in life are certain

Death, taxes, and Bruce Hotze filing a lawsuit every time he loses an election. A local anti-tax activist filed a lawsuit Thursday to block the city of Houston from borrowing $410 million to add, expand and repair parks, libraries, police and fire stations and other government buildings. Bruce Hotze’s suit says the bond measures, which […]

City settles with Treasures, county still on the case

Noted for the record. Prominent strip club Treasures, hauled into court as an alleged public nuisance and haven for crime by city and county attorneys seven months ago, has agreed to put $100,000 in a nuisance abatement fund as part of a settlement with the city of Houston, City Attorney David Feldman said. Harris County […]

CM Brown reimburses the city for her magnets

Score one for David Feldman. Houston City Councilwoman Helena Brown has repaid the city nearly $3,000 in taxpayer money she spent on refrigerator magnets that the Texas Ethics Commission says amount to campaign swag. City Attorney David Feldman, who had asked Brown to reimburse the city before the commission issued its opinion Thursday, said Brown […]

A third act for Jolanda?

Maybe. Jolanda Jones, who lost her at-large position 5 seat in last December’s runoff election, may run in next year’s elections to win a third term on Council — but this time it would be representing District D. The seat will be open next year because Councilwoman Wanda Adams is termed out. “I’m keeping my […]

Helena’s magnets

It’s been awhile since my last Helena Brown post, hasn’t it? Houston City Attorney David Feldman has asked Councilwoman Helena Brown to reimburse the city nearly $3,000 in taxpayer money she spent on refrigerator magnets that he contends amount to re-election swag. Brown’s office has declined to pay the money back, and both sides have […]

City says No to some of CM Brown’s expense reports

It’s always something. Councilwoman Helena Brown hired a private attorney to sit in on meetings with her publicly paid attorney, then tried to bill taxpayers for it. Records obtained by the Houston Chronicle reveal that Brown sought reimbursement for $850 she paid lawyer Kevin Colbert for meetings she had with the mayor and City Attorney […]

The door will stay open

Good decision. A proposal to give Houston City Council the ability to meet behind closed doors is dead. What a mayor’s spokeswoman called a “lack of consensus” was manifest in a committee meeting last week during which several council members criticized the idea as bad policy and bad timing. [...] Mayor Annise Parker’s agenda for […]